When you have lost one or a few teeth, removable partial dentures are an economical solution that improve chewing, speech, and appearance. These removable appliances are an improvement over not having teeth, but they have many limitations. As a result of their limitations, partial dentures are declining in popularity, and people are opting for dental implant bridges instead.
Partial dentures remain a viable alternative for some people who are looking to replace several missing teeth. To learn whether partial dentures are right for you, please call (02) 9686 7375 for an appointment with a Sydney denture dentist at My Hills Dentist.
What Are Partial Dentures?
A partial denture is a removable tooth replacement appliance. It consists of several artificial teeth set in a cosmetic base that is designed to replicate the appearance of your gums. The denture will typically be secured by hooks and clasps that fit around neighboring teeth. It will usually also have a plate that fits against the floor or roof of the mouth, which also helps with stability.
Benefits of Partial Dentures
Partial dentures are a good tooth replacement option. They can:
- Prevent drift of remaining teeth
- Improve chewing
- Make speech clearer
- Give a more cosmetic appearance
Once one or more teeth are lost, there are risks to your remaining teeth. Teeth can drift into the gap, which can make chewing less efficient, hygiene more difficult, and may lead to more food stuck in teeth. The result can be excessive force and increased risk of decay that can damage teeth or even lead to tooth loss. Partial dentures can maintain spacing between your teeth.
Chewing with only a partial set of teeth can be difficult, but partial dentures replace missing teeth to make it easier to eat more nutritious foods.
Speech sounds depend on your teeth for shaping and resonance. With fewer teeth, it becomes harder to speak clearly. Partial dentures restore lost teeth and give you the ability to speak more clearly.
Finally, partial dentures can eliminate visible gaps in your teeth. People won’t see that you have missing teeth, and, if your dentures are properly made, they likely won’t even know you have dentures.
Limitations of Partial Dentures
On the other hand, they are not an optimal tooth replacement option and have many limitations, such as:
- Can slip or drift out of place
- May be uncomfortable
- Don’t provide full force of chewing
- Don’t always provide for clear speech
- Can look unattractive
- Maintenance can be tedious
- Can contribute to damage to teeth, gums, and bone
Which is why people are looking for alternatives to traditional partial dentures such as the Denture Fountain of Youth™. The hooks, clasps, and plates that secure partial dentures don’t fully anchor them, which can cause them to slip out of place at inopportune times.
Partial dentures can also be uncomfortable because of all the metal hooks and plastic surfaces. These can irritate your gums, tongue, and teeth, especially during the adaptation period, but it may also persist.
Part of the reason why partial dentures are uncomfortable is that they put your bite force onto the surface of your gums, which were never meant to support the force of your bite. Natural teeth are anchored in the bone, but dentures pinch the gums against the bone. This limits your ability to bite down hard.
Because partial dentures aren’t fully secure, they can slip out of place while you’re talking, which can cause audible impediments in your speech. And sometimes the structures of the denture can interfere with the motion of your tongue. Typically, practice can help a person adapt to speaking with dentures.
While partial dentures can look good, they can also look unattractive. The metal hooks and clasps may be visible, and because the denture can slip out of place, it may be more obvious than you might desire.
Maintenance of partial dentures can get annoying. Regular daily maintenance includes removing the dentures and fully cleaning them with a denture brush or soft-bristled toothbrush, followed by a soak in denture cleaning solution. In addition, you may need to clean the denture after meals because the hooks, clasps, and other structures can trap food.
Trapping food and plaque against your teeth is one of the ways that partial dentures can lead to damage to neighboring teeth. The trapped food can lead to tooth decay. Hooks and clasps can also cause wear on your teeth, creating grooves that also trap food and shelter bacteria. Biting force can irritate and injure gums and may lead to increased resorption of bone.
Dental Implants Are a Better Alternative
Dental implants solve the problems of partial dentures. Dental implants are secure in the bone so they won’t slip around. For the purposes of chewing, speech, and appearance, they are essentially identical to your natural teeth. Maintenance of dental implants is the same as for your natural teeth.
And they won’t damage your natural teeth. They support your gums and stimulate your bones to preserve them. Dental implants are the best tooth replacement option available, and they can be used for one tooth, a few teeth, or all your teeth.